Moving is stressful and a lot of work — but it can also be an exciting time with new beginnings. That said, there’s not a person among us that wouldn’t love a few ways to make moving just a bit easier. I’m sharing my 2020 internet service journey with you and letting you know how the original setup is working in 2023.
I moved during one of the hottest days of the year (mid-July, who would’ve guessed?) and in the middle of the COVID pandemic. Fortunately, this wasn’t my first move, so I had an idea of what to expect.
What I hadn’t planned for were the snags that came with moving into a new house that was essentially not yet “on the grid,” combined with moving delays due to the ongoing virus.
Since both my husband and I work remotely (WFH), getting our internet appointment confirmed well ahead of time was a big priority for us. Working in the internet and telecommunications industry helped me anticipate delays in installation times due to COVID, installing internet at a home that does not already have wiring and because summer is the height of “moving season” in general.
I ordered my service online two weeks before our move. I recommend (and had planned) to order earlier than that, but, you know, procrastination. From speaking with our home builder and checking on Allconnect.com, I already knew the two options for internet in our new area were either Spectrum internet or AT&T Fiber.
We decided to go with AT&T since they offered discounted internet and other promotional perks. We decided to rent our modem and router from AT&T, but AT&T now includes that fee in the monthly bill.
Ordering online was quick and easy, and there was even a place in the order flow for me to write in directions to our new address. It was odd, however, that the only internet option listed for AT&T standalone internet was 1,000 Mbps. No other speed options were available.
On the day of our installation, I planned to be at the new house while my husband and a friend packed up the U-Haul at the old home. I was running a little behind, but luckily the AT&T technician called ahead to let us know he was on the way, so I was able to meet him just in time.
A brief roadblock
Although this was no fault of the AT&T technician, we did have a brief snag regarding installing wires and drilling into the side of the home. Namely, our builder had told us that the house was fully-wired for all internet services. So, when the AT&T installer informed me that he would need to run lines to the home (from the box in our front yard) and drill holes in our house, I was a bit caught off guard.
However, I quickly realized our builder had been mistaken (our home was only pre-wired for cable, not fiber). Plus, I figured that our technician would not have voluntarily spent close to two hours outside (Did I mention it was the hottest day of the year?) if it wasn’t necessary.
After the installation
Our tech did a great job installing the inside wiring in a non-obtrusive location. He asked us prior to installing our service where we preferred our modem, so we chose to put the equipment downstairs, where I mainly work, but directly below the office, where my husband works.
The installer showed us our modem and router setup and showed us where the default network name and Wi-Fi password was on the equipment. We took a photo on our smartphones so that we would have that info handy later. He also told us we would be receiving emails about the service and a survey to review our installation experience. (5 stars all the way!)
Outside the home, our technician showed us where he ran the fiber-optic cable from the box to our house, and told us that another person would be coming by within 7-10 days to bury the line. True to his word, a man with a Ditch Witch showed up about a week later and buried the line with almost no issues, besides the casualty of one of our yard sprinklers.
Ordering service and getting it installed on time went great. It was a bit hectic trying to get service installed on our actual move-in date, but we wanted internet right away and didn’t get the keys until after closing the day before. Pro tip: If you have a day in-between closing and moving, set the installation for that day.
I recommend having a computer available at install to test the internet speed, which we did not. However, I did run several speed tests in the days and weeks following our install to see if we got the advertised download speed of up to 1,000 Mbps. The results were very surprising.
- First test: Tuesday, 12:45 p.m. Download speed of 100 Mbps
- Second test: Thursday, 2:00 p.m. Download speed of 210 Mbps
- Third test: Friday, 1:30 p.m. Download speed of 30 Mbps (while connected to my VPN). I disconnected from the VPN and then got a result of 215 Mbps.
I was confused by my speed test results and the fact that I was routinely getting just 100-200 Mbps. To be clear, this speed is more than fast enough for our daily online activities, but the delta between the advertised and actual speed was unexpected.
Reasons the speed test results may have been slower than expected:
- There was one other laptop and two smartphones connected to the Wi-Fi at the same time during all three tests.
- I don’t connect my computer with an Ethernet cable but rely purely on Wi-Fi.
- I sometimes connect to a VPN.
But we came up with a plan to boost our Wi-Fi connection. We experimented with optimizing our router settings and purchased our own equipment, like Wi-Fi extenders to further boost our connection throughout our home.
How it’s going: My internet connectivity in 2023
Since our initial move, we have kept AT&T as our ISP. We still use AT&T’s equipment as well because the equipment fee is included in our monthly bill – if we got our own, we’d just be paying extra.
One change we have made is introducing Wi-Fi extenders to our home internet setup to cover various dead spots throughout our home.
Wi-Fi extenders are a great way to expand internet coverage in your home and are especially useful if you have dead spots like we have in our house. We called AT&T customer service and they sent us a free Wi-Fi extender to boost our signal.
In one office of our home, we use an Ethernet cable that connects to our computer which gives us a faster connection than our Wi-Fi. The Ethernet cable is also connected to our Wi-Fi extender.
Smart home manager
We started using an app called Smart Home Manager that helps us locate dead spots throughout our home. This way, we know exactly where to place our Wi-Fi extenders for optimal coverage.
The app also allows us to prioritize a specific device for several hours. If my husband or I are having a Zoom meeting, we can make sure our connection stays strong by optimizing our specific device in the app (we have over 10 devices in our home).
Internet installation recommendations for movers:
- Plan to get internet set up right away, especially if you WFH, teach remotely or take online classes. Even if you don’t do any of those activities, remember that moving may require lots of other online actions, such as registering new appliances, changing voter registration and updating your driver’s license, to name a few.
- Order your new service and schedule your installation appointment at least two weeks in advance — especially with COVID-19 considerations.
- Make sure someone over the age of 18 will be home when your technician arrives.
- Ask your landlord, realtor or builder if the house is pre-wired and where the access points are.
- If any new wiring is going to take place, make sure you know about any restrictions on drilling or digging on the property ahead of time.
- Think about where you want the modem and router beforehand and communicate that to your tech before they start working or drilling holes in the wall.
- Before your technician leaves, ask about network name and passwords, or any other info relevant to using your new service. And don’t forget to promptly change your passwords.
- Test your internet speed on the day of installation and in the following weeks for accuracy.
Overall, we have been happy with our AT&T internet service since our move. Despite a few snags, the initial fiber installation process went as smoothly as we could have hoped. Although we discovered a few dead spots throughout our home, the Smart Home Manager app helps us optimize our connection and place our Wi-Fi extenders in the best areas within our home.
Find other ways to get the most out of your broadband by following the Resource Center or following us on Facebook and Twitter.
Written by:Lisa Iscrupe
Writer, Broadband & Data Content
Lisa uses years of experience in sales and customer service for internet-TV providers to inform her writing on broadband. Her work has been referenced by CNN and other national sources. In Lisa’s Words: Ever… Read more
Edited by:Trey Paul
Editor, Broadband Content
FeaturedHow to switch internet providers and save money Joe Supan — 6 min read
FeaturedMoving? What’s better — Switch to streaming services or bundle TV and internet? Joe Supan — 5 min read
FeaturedWhy does signing up for internet service require a credit check? Lisa Iscrupe — 7 min read
Friday, December 1, 2023How many people use the internet?
Robin Layton — 5 min read
Thursday, November 30, 2023Updated broadband map shows the number of homes without internet is decreasing
Robin Layton — 1 min read
Tuesday, November 28, 2023Where is the best place for your Wi-Fi router?
Camryn Smith — 5 min read